Laughter, Music May Lower Blood Pressure, Study Says

(BusinessWeek) — Laughter and music not only lift the mood, they might also drop blood pressure among middle-aged adults, a new study suggests.

Japanese researchers divided 79 adults, aged 40 to 74, into three groups, studying the effects of one-hour music sessions every two weeks on one group, laughter sessions on another group, and no intervention for the remaining participants (the control group).

Blood pressure readings taken immediately after the sessions were 6 mm Hg lower in the music group and 7 mm Hg lower among the laughter participants compared to measurements taken just prior to the sessions, the study authors said.

Improvements in blood pressure were still seen three months later, according to the results.

No change in blood pressure was recorded among participants who received neither intervention.

“The [participants’] cortisol level, a stress marker, decreased just after the intervention sessions,” said lead author Eri Eguchi, a public health researcher at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. “We think this is one of the explanations for the physiological processes.”

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